Thursday, October 27, 2011

okay, I'm ready now

Alright. So I finished the ridiculous sweater. And now, I have finished this ridiculous quilt top (disclaimer: not the entire quilt, just the top of it. I still don't even know how I'm going to go about quilting it).

All of my silly projects are finished. I'm ready now. The baby can come.

Plus, look at this adorable baby room:

With curtains!

I hope I get to meet her soon.


PS. I just shared Fitocracy with James. Beware of his competitiveness. I think he's going to try to upload all of his bajillion workouts from this last month.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

German and Lace

Good news! I found our favorite German restaurant again. It burned down earlier this year, and will now be in its third location, in about as many years. This place is great, and the owner is actually from Germany, so we get to hear German banter between her and the other patrons, plus delicious food. When it burned down, we still had some weisswurst in our freezer, but that is now long gone, so we may have to stop by to stock up again.

However, I should mention that our freezer is now full instead of homemade bratwurst and hot italians. Yum. Maybe we'll just have to stop by for lunch instead.

I got James some kitchen-aid attachments for his birthday so he could start out with the basics and slowly work his way up to charcuterie greatness. So far, so good. Best. Bratwurst. Ever. I approve.

In other news, I also approve of this lace knitting:

Yesterday I decided against a piece of pie, because it would mean that I would have to pause the knitting in order to eat the pie. That's how dedicated I am to lace knitting.


PS. Now that it's uploaded, I realize you can't make out many details on the lace. It's pretty, I promise.

PPS. Ich habe fast alles meine Deutsch vergessen. Wenn ich ins Restaurant gehe, kann ich etwas verstanden, aber ich bin leider zu vorsicht Deutsch zu sprechen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

almost about triathlons, and almost about running, but sort of more about this stroller we bought

In honor of last weekend's Kona Ironman, I am going to talk about triathlons. Well, not really. Just a little. James finished an olympic-distance triathlon a couple of weeks ago, and he is on a triathlon kick. He's already planned out which events he wants to enter this year, and what distances he wants to train up for. He's salivating over triathlon bikes and plotting his training, even though it is technically the "off" season.

His enthusiasm is infectious.

I trained for a triathlon once (just a little baby sprint distance), and I never want to do it again. I found it hard to manage three things at once, and I didn't like being pulled in so many different directions. I'm a one-task-at-a-time sort of person. But still, his enthusiasm is infectious. It makes me want to go running again.

I know I'm going to have to wait a while, but the weather is getting cool again, and I would really like to go for a run. So it just got me thinking.

I have this sitting in the corner of the room, although instead of fueling more thoughts of running (this time with baby in tow), it is now a bit of a disappointment to me.

Let me ask you a question. Does this look like a jogging stroller to you? Because it does to me.

I really thought when we bought this, that it was a jogging stroller. And let me tell you why. First, it looks like a jogging stroller. Second, when we talked to the sales lady and indicated our interest in jogging strollers, this was one of the models that she showed us. And finally, the brand of this stroller is called "babyjogger." One would think this was a pretty straightforward jogging stroller.

Until I found this the other day:

"Warning: Do not exceed 3mph."


I guess this is not a jogging stroller. Either that, or the makers of this baby stroller expect new moms to be incredibly slow.

I guess my dreams of running again, albeit dreams far into the future, will have to proceed sans baby.


PS. I may be dreaming about running again, but I am also still dreaming about lace. Tomorrow I might buy some yarn. At least I can work on that dream.

PPS. Underwater sea creatures!


When I saw this, I thought of you, because you are the only person I have ever known who has done quilling.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ridiculous knitting projects

This has got to be the most ridiculous project ever.

Ridiculous and mammoth and behemoth and gargantuan.

But it is finished.

I think I started this, what? Two years ago?

Let's look at some of those steeks.

And while I'm at it, I might as well transform this from knitting sculpture to actual sweater:

The frustrating thing is that I still have no idea whether or not it will fit me. Even after the steeks are cut and the buttons are in, I have this belly thing that sort of makes everything not fit me at the moment. So I guess I'll have to wait to see.

Do you know what I feel like knitting after this? What would you think, is it a quick project? Another one-week baby sweater, perhaps? No. Lace. I am dreaming of lace. In particular, this Maltese Shawl. Which might seem like another ridiculous thing to knit at the moment.

But let's take a second look. How ridiculous is a lace shawl, considering I just knit a stranded sweater at tight gauge, and I live in a town where the average high in January is sixty-five degrees? Seriously. That was the ridiculous project. And I don't even know if it will fit me.

Lace, on the other hand, is light and airy. Even if it's not the most "every-day" of finished projects, at least it's weather-appropriate. Plus there's no shaping.

I love lace.

Well, I love knitting lace.

Mmm, lace.

I am so glad that stupid sweater is finished. I thought it would never end. You might think that with just the cuffs to go, I would have been motivated to finish it up, but the end was like a long, slow death. And then I had ends to weave in still, and steeks to tack down, and a couple of mistakes to fix. This sweater took me just about forever to finish.

I'll let you know whether or not I end up starting that lace project. I need to wait a week before I will have access to a decent yarn shop.


PS. I was listening to Symphonie Fantastique today. And then some of Saint Saens' organ symphony. It made me so happy. I love those pieces.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

on teenagers and pregnancy

James and I made a brief appearance at our local high school football game this past Friday. Now, I have to admit that I have absolutely no interest in football. I feel almost un-American saying this, but despite my best efforts, I cannot for the life of me focus on the game. It's nice to chat and people watch though.

I really enjoy people watching.

Sometimes I marvel at how each person has their own "look." Or I like to watch the band members dancing around to their music. Sometimes I judge.

Like when I see the clearly pregnant high school student walking past with her group of friends. Or I see the teenage couple that looks oh-so-young holding their newborn baby in the stands.

James has a co-worker whose child attends this high school. The rumor he spread to James was that teenage pregnancy is such a problem here that the school sponsors a daycare center. Now, I haven't been able to substantiate this claim, but cursory google searches (for whatever they are worth) have indicated that teen pregnancy in my town is about the highest in the state. Which is saying quite a bit, since Arizona has some of the highest teen birthrates in the country.

I have been perusing Red Families v. Blue Families, and one of the topics in the book is teen pregnancy. I was shocked to learn that about a quarter of U.S. girls in their teens will end up with an unplanned pregnancy. I cannot fathom this. In an age of technology, with instant access to information, it cannot possibly be lack of information that is leading to these high rates. The book does a good job of accounting for variations in trends between different regions of the country (red vs. blue), and attributing these differences to family values, social norms, and importance placed on education in these different regions. But I still don't feel satisfied. And I still cannot fathom how teen pregnancy rates can be so high. I don't understand the term "unplanned pregnancy," because for most of us, isn't that the inevitable result of unprotected sex? Sometimes I just don't understand the choices that people make.

I read a fascinating article a couple of years ago that discussed how the adolescent brain is neurologically immature compared to an adult's brain:
"In sum, then, impulse control, planning for the future, appreciating cause and effect, and decision making are important skills that rely on numerous interconnecting cognitive components that emerge as the brain develops during adolescence. Exercising these skills requires a variety of cognitive processes that are not fully mature in early adolescence. One of the important reasons that these processes are not fully mature is that the biology of the brain that underlies these processes is not fully mature."
So perhaps there is a brain development issue? Oh my goodness.

I think I'm probably doing too much judging in this post. But once I realized how prevalent this issue was, I wanted to understand why. I don't think statistics will help me.

I have an opinion that young adults of today's generation are less mature and have fewer responsibilities than those of generations past. I don't want to be all "the good old days," especially if I wasn't part of those "old days," but I feel that we probably grow up in a more privileged environment than in the past. I read a good blog article that addressed this issue. I think it's probably at the root of why college has become almost a necessity in our culture in order to get a good job: a high school graduate simply isn't at the level of maturity that he or she was at in the past. And it may contribute to why the average age of couples at marriage keeps increasing. It's taking longer and longer for us to "grow up."

But, assuming I am correct, and our teenagers are less mature than ever, I am all the more saddened that teenage pregnancy rates are on the rise. I clearly don't have a solution, especially since I don't even understand the phenomenon. But at least I am becoming more aware.